NJ Secretary of Ag Tours Rutgers Turf Research Farm

(L-R) Brad Hillman, Bob Goodman, Doug Fisher, Bill Meyer, Bruce Clarke and Stacy Bonos observe a plot of tall fescue at the Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm. Photo source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

(L-R) Brad Hillman, Bob Goodman, Doug Fisher, Bill Meyer, Bruce Clarke and Stacy Bonos observe a plot of tall fescue at the Rutgers Plant Science Research and Extension Farm. Photo source: New Jersey Department of Agriculture

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher visited the Rutgers Plant Biology Research and Extension Farm in Adelphia on September 16. Faculty from the Turfgrass Breeding Project at the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science gave Fisher a tour of research plots and discussed types of grasses being evaluated and studied for breeding. Faculty on hand for the tour were William Meyer, director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project; Stacy Bonos, assistant professor and turfgrass breeder; Bruce B. Clarke, director of the Center for Turfgrass Science; Brad Hillman, director of research for NJAES; and Rutgers Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources Bob Goodman. [Read more...]

Hot Pepper Plots Picked Clean in ‘HYOP’ 2014

Hot Peppers gleaning - 2014In the second annual “Harvest Your Own Pepper” (HYOP) event on October 15, the hot pepper plots at Hort Farm III on Ryders Lane in New Brunswick were once again open to Rutgers faculty and staff to pick their own hot peppers left over from research variety trials. Albert Ayeni, ethnic crop specialist, and Tom Orton, extension specialist in vegetable breeding, are conducting the hot pepper trials for selecting varieties that grow well in New Jersey. In addition, they are investigating the peppers’ potential use as ornamental plants and medicinal foods. Read more about the hot pepper research and the first HYOP in 2013.

The Hot Pepper Potential: Rutgers Ag Research Aims for Alternative Markets in New Jersey and the Region

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

Habaneros are among the exotic hot peppers with growing market potential.

It’s hard to be neutral about hot peppers. People often run, pardon the pun, hot or cold when it comes to these spicy meal additions. Those with “seasoned” taste buds may ply their dishes with daring degrees of spiciness, while others who fear the burn decline to indulge. But hot peppers offer more than a spicy bite to meals and present some other uses that can turn up the heat on its market potential. [Read more...]

What’s in Season from the Garden State: Farm to Fork Food Waste? It Depends on Your Perspective

What happens to the farm produce that doesn't make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by "gleaning" the produce left in the field.

What happens to the farm produce that doesn’t make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by “gleaning” the produce left in the field.

By Rick VanVranken, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County

August “Augie” Wuillermin, co-owner/operator with his brother, Ed Jr., of Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton, NJ, turned in disgust and grumbled, “Some days I just have to stay out [of the packing house] when the peppers come in this way. It’s sickening. Seems like such a waste!”

Is waste an opportunity lost?

Economists talk about ‘opportunity cost’, loosely defined as the value of something that must be given up in order to do something else. Every resource has alternative uses, so every choice has opportunity cost(s).

Waste comes into play when the investment of time, energy and labor does not create the intended outcome and the alternatives do little to cover those costs. Hence, from grower to consumer, technologies and practices are employed to reduce potential losses as much as possible. Sorting machines fine tune the sizing and separating of defective produce. Packaging engineers design containers that maximize air flow to allow efficient cooling while maintaining strength to protect the fragile contents during storage and shipping. [Read more...]

Rutgers Joins USDA Northeast Climate Hub to Address Needs of Natural Resource Managers

Wildfire in Ocean County, NJ in April, 2014. Source: NJ State Climatologist Office

Wildfire in Ocean County, NJ, in April 2014. Source: NJ State Climatologist Office

Farmers, forest landowners and other natural resource managers, whose livelihoods depend on the reliability of seasonal cycles, are on the forefront of climate change. When anticipated local conditions are disrupted, conventional practices no longer suffice and land managers have to tread new ground.

There’s assistance, however, in the Northeast region of the U.S. in the form of the USDA Northeast Climate Hub, which will deliver science-based knowledge and practical information to farmers and forest landowners. The aim of the hub is to support decision-making related to climate change and to maintain and strengthen agricultural production, natural resource management and rural economic development under increasing climate variability. It will build capacity within USDA to deliver information and guidance on technologies and risk management practices at regional and local scales. [Read more...]